Reviews

And speaking of road trips on the grand scale…

August 29, 2014

In Round About the Earth: Circumnavigation from Magellan to Orbit, historian Joyce E. Chaplin describes around-the-world voyages as geodramas in which travelers present themselves as actors on a global stage–a metaphor that she extends by dividing her history of circumnavigation into three “acts”. Chaplin begins with the fearful sea voyages of early modern man, when […]

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In which I set down my road map and consider the globe

August 26, 2014

My Own True Love and I recently decided to cancel our Great River Road Trip. It was a good decision; our old cat and our old house both require our attention and the Mississippi will still be there come spring. Under the circumstances, it seems appropriate to consider a bigger picture than road signs, road […]

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The Lost Art of Dress

July 29, 2014

I’ve put off reviewing Linda Przybyszewski’s The Lost Art of Dress: The Women Who Once Made America Stylish for several months now. In part because life was busy life-ing. In part because I had other things I wanted to write about. But mostly because I’m not entirely sure how I feel about the book. The […]

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Laughter in Ancient Rome

July 25, 2014

At some level, humor is a personal thing, as any one knows who’s made a joke only to be greeted with a fish-eye stare or squirmed uncomfortably as everyone around her laughs at something that seems–not funny. Humor seems to be tied to time, place, personality, age, and occasionally gender. If that’s the case, why […]

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Some Old Favorites About World War I

July 22, 2014

Recently I shared some of the most interesting new books about World War I that have landed in my mailbox.* Wonderful though many of the new books are, it would be a shame to forget the many excellent older books available. Here are some of my favorites: Paul Fussell’s The Great War and Modern Memory […]

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In which I consider soccer, or at least books about soccer

July 15, 2014

The World Cup is over and some of you are suffering from soccer* withdrawal. Unlikely though it may seem to those of you who know me in real life,I have some reading suggestions that will let you feed both lingering soccer mania and history curiosity. Franklin Foer’s How Soccer Explains The World: An {Unlikely} Theory […]

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Curiosity’s Cats

July 1, 2014

Research is a big part of my writing work day. In fact, I read far more words than I write in my constant search for a topic, a story,* and/or a telling detail. I have special glasses for the hours I spend on the computer, and eye drops that I generally forget to use. (Excuse […]

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Drowning In Books About World War I

June 25, 2014

It is a truth universally acknowledged (at least in the circles I hang out in) that major historical anniversaries are celebrated not only with documentaries, blog posts and re-enactments, but with the publication of Big Fat History Books. It makes perfect sense from the point of view of writer and publishing house: the centennial of […]

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The Nile

June 22, 2014

In The Nile:A Journey Downriver Through Egypt’s Past and Present, popular Egyptologist Toby Wilkinson leads the reader on a historical travelogue that moves from Aswan, home of the river’s First Cataract, to Cairo’s Gezira Island, from Paleolithic rock drawings to the Arab Spring. The voyage that shapes The Nile is not simply metaphorical. Wilkinson floats […]

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In Which I Give Away A Copy of Nick Lloyd’s Hundred Days

June 19, 2014

As those of you who hang out in history-land know, the centennial of World War I is just around the corner. So far I’ve resisted the temptation to add to the flow of WWI-related blog posts, tweets, and images.* But the pile of books to review and the list of things I want to talk […]

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